Low back pain is one of employee’s most common complaints. In the United States alone, back pain has been the fifth most common reason for people visiting the physician. Similar to any other office staff, a medical virtual assistant also experiences the same, especially that they stay in one position for so long.
As a medical assistant, you must be aware that working with your computer and sitting in your office chair the whole 8 hours of your shift put you at high risk of developing back pain. Medically speaking, this back pain is classified as a non-accidental back injury because it is a result of normal activities required by your job. But there’s nothing to worry because it can be prevented it through proper workplace ergonomics.
Ergonomics is the art and science of manipulating your workplace environment such that it allows you to function well as you maintain your healthy state. Prevention is better than cure. Following proper workplace ergonomics is not difficult to achieve. Here are some tips that might help you maintain proper work ergonomics:
- A workplace must have enough space to allow movement. Full range of motion is our muscles’ way of relaxation. Movement doesn’t only help our muscles but our circulatory system as well to let blood deliver oxygen to different body parts. Imagine if you sit for the whole shift, you are straining only one muscle for a long period of time. This contributes to a sedentary lifestyle.
- Observe proper lighting. In an office setting, lighting is a very important factor to consider. Good lighting must allow you to see objects without glares. It should be well-adjusted so you easily see your computer monitor without causing fatigue to your eyes, which eventually results in headache.
- Maintain proper functional posture and proper body alignment. Your chair must be your comfort zone. It serves as your support so make sure it is adjustable in height and has a tilting feature to allow movement.
- When working with your computer or laptop, make sure that they are placed on a table or a desk. Placing them on your lap will cause you improper body alignment and low back pains. It is also good if you adjust the lighting of your monitor if it is too bright in order not to strain your eyes. Make sure to take breaks from time to time where you look away from your monitor to relax your eyes.
- Frequent position change is advised. Staying in one position will strain one muscle for a long period of time. It may further develop into severe medical condition if it is done habitually such as stress ulcers, cardiac problems due to immobility and muscle pains among others. Try to place your trash can away from you so you will be encouraged to stand up and walk if you need to throw something. Or make it a habit to put a glass of water and refill it every now and then.
Setting up a workplace doesn’t just need a good engineering plan or aesthetically beautiful and elegant designs. It should be something that will provide proper work ergonomics in order to ensure good health and productivity.
Observe proper workplace ergonomics now and see how it affects your productivity as a medical virtual assistant!